This could have been really bad..

   I still haven't gotten the official word on the cause of this but have heard that no one was hurt or killed.
   For you rookie oarsmen,, let me shed some light on Drift boat 101.  I'm a self taught fly fisherman as well as for the most par self taught fishing guide.  I shadowed behind some of the best guides in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana but never had anyone teach me drift boat basics.  I learned a lot sitting around drinking beer with the old boys.
   What you want to do is put your clients on fish not sink your skiff and hope your clients can swim to shore.  Rule #1 make sure the plugs are in!  Sounds elementary but believe  it or not, It happens where a guide hit the sauce a little too hard the night before, shows up the next day a little fuzzy and forgetful and forgets to put his plugs in the boat.
   Rule #2  Don't release to much anchor rope in high water as this will cause your boat to sway uncontrollably side to side.  We call this lolli rockin', extremely dangerous as you could take on water over the gunnels.  If it's just a little bit of water, make sure you have a sponge in the boat.  Also, don't let your anchor drag as it may snag a boulder, pull the stern down and swamp last seasons profits.  We call the laying cable.
   Thirdly and most importantly, DO NOT TIE A KNOT IN THE ANCHOR ROPE!  This is referred to as a "suicide knot" for good reason.  If something goes wrong, you spaced something or forgot to take your guide mends that morning you can always kiss the inexpensive anchor roe and 35#lbs of lead goodbye - easier to stomach than kissing $7,000 buh bye.
   Gotta run for now... until the next bit of foolishness, tight lines and remember to always kiss the anchor goodbye.

Unexpected break on the Yellowstone

Up, down, all around, fished for a week and now unfishable for what appears to be the rest of Spring runoff but who knows?

Two footers

A Missouri river Montana two footer

   While a few friends were out this  past weekend ripping streamers for two footers on the Yellowstone, others made their annual pilgrimage to Utah's Green R. in hopes of cashing in on some early season Baetis dry fly action.  The reports are in and the Utah crew cashed in a BIG way! Fish were eagerly fallingl for a # 18 CK CDC Baetis emerger fished in the film.                    This weekend got me thinking about a couple of things. 1.) I miss that low mountain desert fishing  for Big browns down on the sunny Green.  2.) I also miss that early season smash attack of those Big browns on the Stone this time of year.
   Realistically, dry fly fishing and streamer fishing are visually similar.  It's all about the rise to the dry or the chase after the meat.  I don't know which I prefer?  One thing is for certain, It beats staring at a strike indicator all day long.  When I was still guiding I had nightmares that stupid little fluorescent  bobber was making my life Hell.  I have spent so much time drift nymph fishing the buckets of the Lower Madison, I would call a strike even before the indicator twitched.
   Now when  it come down to dry fly fishing, and fishing it is.  Timing the strike is so important.  Too early, you yank the fly out of the fishes mouth.  Too late and the fish inhales your fly, swims to the bottom and shits it out.  Neither scenario is very rewarding.
   Streamer fishing and fishing it really is requires the same patience as dry fly fishing, timing the strike  can be downright visually stimulating.  We all  have been guilty of the premature hook set but in guide circles we call it premature ejerculation or shittin' the bed.   Either way you look at it, it's my personal opinion that  dry fly or strpping streamers is really what fly fishing is all about!

Lake trout, serious threat for Yellowstone Lake

   t's a case of trout versus trout, and in the face-off between native Yellowstone cutthroats (Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri) and the intruders on the scene, lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), the judgment handed down is a no-brainer. The lake trout must go.The problem, explained Pat Bigelow, a fisheries biologist at Yellowstone National ParkWyoming, emerged in 1994 when lake trout were discovered in Yellowstone Lake. Why lake trout were introduced into the lake is a mystery. Perhaps, biologists speculate, some anonymous angler wanted to diversify the fish population in the lake but didn't think through the consequences. "It's an example of bucket biology," said Todd Koel, supervisory fisheries biologist for the park. (Related pictures: Trout vs. Trout in Yellowstone Lake.)
   A Yellowstone cutthroat—coppery in color, back peppered with spots, a blush of pink by the gills—is a thing of beauty. But it is outmatched in size and outlived by the lake trout, which weighs in at over 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and can reach the ripe old age of 20-plus years, about twice the span of cutthroats. More to the point, lake trout eat cutthroats.
   Why the fuss? Isn't variety the spice of trout fishing? Not at all, said Bigelow. The cutthroat fishery provides an estimated 34 million dollars in economic benefit to the area. Lake trout—not as easy to catch—are no substitute for their native cousins. More important, Yellowstone cutthroats, and their genetic well-being, need protecting. Two of fourteen cutthroat species—the Alvord and yellowfin—are already extinct. (Related interview: Invasive fish species in the Great Lakes.)
   There are other factors that speak to the wisdom of weeding out non-natives. Lake trout are deepwater dwellers and inaccessible to the otters, ospreys, bears, and eagles that prey on easily caught, shallow-water-dwelling cutthroats. Ten years ago, Koel pointed out, there were 50 nesting pairs of ospreys in the lake system area. Today there are only three or four.
   Once the alien species was discovered, the Park Service was quick to respond. It started netting the intruders and in the past ten years has hired commercial fishermen to accelerate the process with large deepwater entrapment nets. Last year, more than 300,000 lake trout were removed from the lake, pushing the ten-year total take to about a million.
   But lake trout aren't going away any time soon. Netting has slowed down, but not completely solved, the problem. "The war isn't won yet," said Koel. "It's a matter of keeping ahead of the curve."

The evolution of CK Outfitters

     What started as a summer job in 1998 has   evolved into a full blown way of life for me.  I had  never planned on guiding fly fishermen for thirteen  years, it is just how it happened.  A poor economy, A low employment rate in Southwestern Montana coupled with low paying jobs and living the seasonal life are the biggest contributing factors.
     Since the beginning of this so called summer job, I have found myself guiding in Wisconsin. Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park and most recently Montana.  While  each of the following states have excellent fly fishing, Montana is where I have chosen to  spend the better part of the last decade and start CK Outfitters Fly Fishing.
     Fly fishermen are a one of a kind breed.  99% are fun loving adventurous souls..  If it were not for the people that love this sport, I would not have lasted this long.  The .1% do exist.  They may  have things happening in their life which derails them from enjoying the simple mind numbing joy of fly fishing.  This is really unfortunate.
     Through all of this, I have found myself as the Guide, Instructor, Doctor, Therapist, Teacher, Preacher, Legal council, Historian, Bartender, Banker, Boss, Parent, Disciplinarian and the list goes on.  One thing is for sure, I have thoroughly enjoyed playing all these roles.
     While my time as a fishing guide winds down, I still continue to Outfit anglers and find myself with a new set of rules.  After thirteen years, I have a few stories to tell.  This book is not intended to bruise  the reputation of fly fishing, rather enlighten anglers on the client/guide dynamic.  I have clients that I have been fishing with for along time and appreciate the advice they have given me but most importantly, cherish the lifelong friendships I have developed over the years.
  This sport is largely why I am who I’ve become today and for that I am grateful.  I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this book.  My first attempt at writing a book has been a wonderful journey.  Enjoy

Craig CK Kalpinski.